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Because it means we can't have a sensible debate on the topic at all.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 09:08:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought you were hinting at that when you asked what were the fundamental assumptions.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 09:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We might be able to have very sensible debates (indeed there has been) on parts of the spectrum that forms the "nuclear question" as long as all participants agree to leave confrontational attitudes at the door.

As soon as it comes to just pro/con the whole question it tends to quickly go downhill. And with generalising insults (your side is stupid!).

Other factors then the ones Migeru stated are the low risk of anything happening versus the heavy consequences if they do. Risk (very low) * Consequence (very high) = though equation. Almost 0 * infinty... And there is a tendency to emphasise one of the numbers, which then tips the equation. I think we (humans) are not really very good at probabilities.

And there is the societal aspects of having a nuclear industry. Centralised vs. decentralised energy production, waste issues, dirty bombs, isotopes for science and medicine, funding for physics department, potential for getting nuclear weapons, and I guess the list goes on.

Depending on frame anyone of these can probably be important enough to decide the question. Which means there are a number of pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear stances. Thinking about it, it might be interesting to have a poll on how many reactors the world should have, and see if it really is such a divide between the camps.

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 11:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about writing an diary about this???
by Fran on Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 11:11:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's always De Anander's The Nuclear Skeptic, Part 1: Sketching the Playing Field (May 22nd, 2006).

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 12:09:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's what this forum is great for...

yesterday i saw a report on euronews showing EU money going to provide solar panels to substitute for generators in africa as part of a carbon credit program.

these poor people can now have a chance to contribute to their local economies with a sewing machine, and the kids could study in the evenings, without the stench and noise of a generator yammering out the back.

why is it so difficult to scale that up ad infinitum?

what is it if not propaganda, as dodo bravely (and aptly) infers, that tires to convince us that these people would better be served by some nuke plant and a cumbersome, ugly, wasteful grid putting their whole area at eco-risk for thousands of years?

personally i believe it's a definition of sanity...

scaling up a bit, they also reported on a millions-invested solar research plant in spain working on using uv for water purification, with some fantastically important products for the poor.

nuclear is the biggest boondoggle of all human history, and notwithstanding all the suffering it's caused, we persist in thinking of it as some kind of saviour.

coal/nuclear are evil, renewables are good.

the longer i look at it, the more obvious it seems.

it is interesting to see the arguments marshalled and hashed out here.

i think we should bear in mind it will not will be scientists who decide, but people like me, who are science-sceptical, and while admittedly ignorant of the 'finer points', do not have the faith in their 'state' as the french do.

the money put into nuclear should be redirected into renewables, which will help drive prices down and research up.

subitissimo, per piacere...

special props to de anander and her amazing diaries on this issue.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 01:22:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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